ANATOLIA ("Lraper" )–The Armenian Church of St. George in the town of Derik in Southeastern Anatolia was consecrated last week–following a remarkable renovation project.
General Vicar of the Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul–His Grace Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan–accompanied by some 120 pilgrims from Istanbul–left for Diyarbakir by plane Saturday.
Matins–Vespers and Vigil services were held in the still intact St. James Chapel of the ruined Armenian Church of St. Giragos in Diyarbakir. In between the services visits were organized to the Armenian cemetery in Diyarbakir–the Syrian Orthodox Church of Saint Mary–a walk along the ancient Byzantine walls of the Old City.
Following the services–the Armenian pilgrims from Istanbul– and the Armenian community in Derik gathered around a table of love.
Parishioners traveled by bus Sunday into the province of Mardin and arrived in the town of Derik at 9.30 a.m. The Armenian Church of Derik which had gone through a substantial renovation process–was reopened for worship by Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan by a service of traditional opening of doors.
The Archbishop then consecrated with the Holy Water the main altar of the edifice. The Divine Liturgy was then celebrated by the Very Rev. Fr. Yeghishe Uchkunian.
The Mayor of Derik and two Kurdish sheiks–respectively–came to greet and congratulate the Archbishop in the church and to express their hope that this pilgrimage to Derik becomes a traditionally annual event.
St. George in Derik is the third Armenian Church in Anatolia which has gone through a major renovation and which has been reopened for worship by His Grace Archbishop Mesrob Mutafyan..